Hihi Resource Consent Renewal

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Project details

Discharges from the Hihi wastewater treatment plant are managed by three discharge consents. One is for odour to air, one for seepage from the bottom of the wetlands and one covers the discharge of treated wastewater into the Hihi stream. 

We acknowledge that the discharge of treated wastewater to the Hihi Stream has a high impact on Māori cultural interests and values. We are committed to talking to hapū most directly impacted to help us work towards better outcomes. This will include, but not be limited to, cultural impact assessments for the discharges from the treatment plant.

The consents will have conditions that ensure we improve environmental outcomes. It is possible we can incorporate special conditions on the consent e.g. the requirement to undertake cultural values monitoring. 

 

Project milestones

An application to renew these consents will be made to the Northland Regional Council (NRC) before the end of August 2022.

It is likely that the application will be publicly notified. You can sign up to receive an email from NRC when the resource consent is publicly notified so you can have your say here: Subscriptions - Northland Regional Council (nrc.govt.nz). The Ministry for the Environment provides useful information about the resource consent process.

Completed environmental assessments

An air quality assessment to determine the effects of the discharge of odour from the treatment plant has been finalised. You can read a copy of the air quality assessment here.  Thank you to all the residents who took part in this assessment.

public health risk assessment to determine the public health risk to people who eat kaimoana or swim in areas that may be affected by the discharge of treated wastewater has been undertaken.  You can read the summary of this document, and the technical assessment here.

hydrodynamic study has been undertaken to understand the behaviour of the treated wastewater once it has been discharged. You can read a copy of the hydrodynamic study here

An ecological assessment to determine the effects of the discharge on the ecology of the Hihi Stream. You can read a copy of the ecological assessment here

 

 

 

  • An ecological assessment to determine the effects of the discharge on the ecology of the Hihi Stream
  • A performance assessment to identify whether the current treatment performance can meet the stricter discharge standards of the Proposed Regional Plan for Northland
  • An air quality assessment to determine the effects of the discharge of odour from the treatment plant
  • A public health risk assessment to determine the public health risk to people who eat kaimoana or swim in areas that may be affected by the discharge of treated wastewater
  • A cultural impact assessment (CIA) to determine the effects of the discharge on Maori cultural values and assess how these effects may be avoided, mitigated or remedied

These will be made available on this webpage. 

The process of renewing a consent can be quite complex. NRC has great resources to explain the process: https://www.nrc.govt.nz/consents/consent-application-process/.

Council prepares the application and submits it to NRC for resource consent processing. NRC might ask for further information to allow them to make a sound decision. Once it is satisfied that it has all the relevant information, it will publicly notify the application. Anyone can make a submission on a publicly notified application and be heard by independent commissioners.

The application needs to be lodged by 31 August 2022. If we miss the lodgment date and the consents expire, any discharge from the plant is not authorised under the Resource Management Act. This means we cannot legally operate the plant. We will continue to operate the plant, but we will be non-compliant, and this may result in financial penalties. 

If we have lodged the new application by 31 August 2022, we can continue to legally operate the plant under the existing consent for as long as it takes for the new consent to be granted. This is allowed for under the Resource Management Act.

We recognise that discharge to water is culturally inappropriate and we are committed to finding better options for wastewater disposal. A land-based disposal option needs to be both practical and affordable for our ratepayers.

The Regional Policy Statement for Northland gives a clear requirements to consider land discharge options as part of the consent renewal process. We have investigated options for discharging wastewater to land as an alternative to discharge-to-water in several locations including Rāwene, Ōpononi, Kohukohu, Taipā, Kaitāia and Kaikohe. 

The new plant is unlikely to be commissioned before the current resource consents expire. For this reason, the application will be to renew the current discharges ‘like-for-like’ (same quantity and quality of discharge, no changes to the discharge to air, no changes to the discharge location).


Project documents

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Location

13 Marchant Road, Hihi    View Map

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Last updated 30 May 2022